Our Verdict

Fuji has done it again: produced a camera that is not only beautiful, but is capable of producing some superb images. We can see this being top of many a photographer's lust list, and for good reason – it's top of ours too.

For

  • Traditional controls
  • Rugged build
  • Wi-Fi
  • Tilting LCD

Against

  • Advanced Filter JPEG only
  • Screen not vari-angle

The X-T1 is a compact system camera that looks and handles like a DSLR. It's a departure from the flatter design of the Fuji X-E2 and Fuji X-Pro1 before it, but it will make photographers used to a regular DSLR feel right at home.

Firmware catch-up

The original X-T1 is black, but Fuji released a new X-T1 Graphite edition in September 2014 with some additional features, including a high-speed electronic shutter, Classic Chrome film simulation mode and a new 'natural live view' option to make the EVF look more like a regular optical viewfinder.

But these were made possible by upgrades to the camera firmware, not the camera itself, and in December 2014 Fuji released a version 3.0 firmware update for both models that brought them bang up to date.

So if you have an original black X-T1 you're not missing out. Fuji's firmware upgrade brings complete parity with the X-T1 Graphite. The Graphite version continues to cost a little more, but that's because it costs more to apply the finish.

Apart from the finish, the X-T1 Graphite's design and layout is the same as the original X-T1's. It's packed with dials and buttons, while its gorgeous retro look will surely have a wide range of photographers drooling to get their hands on one. It recalls the size and operation of classic film SLRs in the way that most modern D-SLRs don't.

One of the biggest impacts the change in design has is that the electronic viewfinder has shifted into the centre of the camera from its rangefinder-like corner position.

We've seen lots of buttons before – and liked it – on Fuji X series cameras, so it's unsurprising that Fuji has continued that tradition with the XT1.

Front

Much of the XT1's specification is shared with the X-E2, in terms of internal design at least. Most importantly, perhaps, it shares the same excellent APS-C format 16.3 million-pixel X Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR Processor (you'll also find these in the Fuji X100T).

Side

Despite using the same processor as the X-E2 and X100S, the X-T1 is compatible with UHS-II SD format cards, meaning it can shoot continuously at a maximum rate of 8fps (frames per second) for up to 47 fine JPEG files or 23 simultaneous raw and JPEG files. Rather than stopping after the buffer becomes full, the X-T1 can still continue to shoot at 3fps until the card fills up – slower SD cards are also compatible.

The previous Fuji cameras claimed some impressive operation speeds, and as with the X-E2, the X-T1's start-up time is claimed at 0.5 seconds, while it has a shutter lag of 0.05 seconds. However, the 2.36 million-dot EVF has a refresh rate of 54fps in normal and low light conditions and it has a claimed response time of 0.005 seconds for a smoother view of moving subjects. This compares favourably with the X-E2 and Olympus E-M1, which Fuji claims have response times of 0.05 and 0.029 seconds respectively.

Top

Although the X-T1's viewfinder has the same dot-count as the X-E2's, it is bigger and has a magnification factor of 0.77x – according to Fuji the highest of any digital camera. This makes it possible for a dual image to be shown to help with manual focusing. The whole image can be displayed on the left in the finder while a magnified section on the right shows Fuji's Focus Peak Highlight or Digital Split Image view.

Like the X-E2, the X-T1 has a three-inch 1,040,000-dot screen, but this is mounted on a tilting bracket for easier viewing when shooting landscape orientation images from high or low angles. This screen can also display the split image view mentioned above.

The LCD also has a tempered glass cover for additional outdoor protection.

Rear side

Lens Modulation Optimiser technology is included in the X-T1. This tailors the processing of each image depending upon the specific lens, focal length and aperture used. It corrects diffraction blur for sharper images from edge to edge, and it's compatible with Fuji's whole XF lens line-up.

One of the key benefits introduced with the X-Trans CMOS II sensor is its dedicated phase detection pixels that are used by the camera's hybrid autofocus (AF) system. Consequently, the X-T1 can use either contrast or phase detection depending upon situation – it makes the selection.

When the X-E2 was launched Fuji claimed that at 0.08 seconds it had the world's fastest phase detection autofocus speed amongst digital cameras, with a 4/3-inch or larger sensor. This honour is now shared with the X-T1.

Rear

The X-E2's AF system improved dramatically upon the X-E1's and the X-T1 has the same technology, including the ability to select points around the frame when shooting in a continuous AF mode – something not possible in the first X-series CSCs.

As is starting to become increasingly popular, the X-T1 has Wi-Fi connectivity built-in. In addition, there's a new Fujifilm Camera Remote app for iOS and Android devices that allows the camera to be controlled remotely by a smartphone.

Viewfinder

Other specification highlights include a native sensitivity range of ISO 200-6400, with JPEG only expansion settings taking it to ISO 100-25,600; full HD movie recording at 60 and 30fps and the usual collection of Fuji Film Simulation modes and Advanced Filter options.

The version 3.0 firmware update brings an additional Film Simulation mode – Classic Chrome – which is designed to evoke the colours of old-fashioned transparency film.

In addition, an external microphone may be connected for better sound recording during video, but the X-T1 has a 2.5mm port rather than the standard 3.5mm port.